Monday, April 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Self Defense and Teens

Source: TeensHealth


You’ve seen it in movies: A girl walks through an isolated parking garage. Suddenly, an evil-looking guy jumps out from behind an SUV. Girl jabs bad guy in the eyes with her keys — or maybe she kicks him in a certain sensitive place. Either way, while he’s squirming, she leaps into her car and speeds to safety.

That’s the movies. Here’s the real-life action replay: When the girl goes to jab or kick the guy, he knows what’s coming and grabs her arm (or leg), pulling her off balance. Enraged by her attempt to fight back, he flips her onto the ground. Now she’s in a bad place to defend herself — and she can’t run away.

Many people think of self-defense as a karate kick to the groin or jab in the eyes of an attacker. But self-defense actually means doing everything possible to avoid fighting someone who threatens or attacks you. Self-defense is all about using your smarts — not your fists.

Use Your Head

People (guys as well as girls) who are threatened and fight back “in self-defense” actually risk making a situation worse. The attacker, who is already edgy and pumped up on adrenaline — and who knows what else — may become even more angry and violent. The best way to handle any attack or threat of attack is to try to get away. This way, you’re least likely to be injured.
One way to avoid a potential attack before it happens is to trust your instincts. Your intuition, combined with your common sense, can help get you out of trouble. For example, if you’re running alone on the school track and you suddenly feel like you’re being watched, that could be your intuition telling you something. Your common sense would then tell you that it’s a good idea to get back to where there are more people around.
De-Escalating a Bad Situation
Attackers aren’t always strangers who jump out of dark alleys. Sadly, teens can be attacked by people they know. That’s where another important self-defense skill comes into play. This skill is something self-defense experts and negotiators call de-escalation.
De-escalating a situation means speaking or acting in a way that can prevent things from getting worse. The classic example of de-escalation is giving a robber your money rather than trying to fight or run. But de-escalation can work in other ways, too. For example, if someone harasses you when there’s no one else around, you can de-escalate things by agreeing with him or her. You don’t have to actually believe the taunts, of course, you’re just using words to get you out of a tight spot. Then you can redirect the bully’s focus (”Oops, I just heard the bell for third period”), and calmly walk away from the situation.
Something as simple as not losing your temper can de-escalate a situation. Learn how to manage your own anger effectively so that you can talk or walk away without using your fists or weapons.
Although de-escalation won’t always work, it can only help matters if you remain calm and don’t give the would-be attacker any extra ammunition. Whether it’s a stranger or someone you thought you could trust, saying and doing things that don’t threaten your attacker can give you some control.

Reduce Your Risks

Another part of self-defense is doing things that can help you stay safe. Here are some tips from the National Crime Prevention Council and other experts:

Understand your surroundings. Walk or hang out in areas that are open, well lit, and well traveled. Become familiar with the buildings, parking lots, parks, and other places you walk. Pay particular attention to places where someone could hide — such as stairways and bushes.
Avoid shortcuts that take you through isolated areas.

If you’re going out at night, travel in a group.

Make sure your friends and parents know your daily schedule (classes, sports practice, club meetings, etc.). If you go on a date or with friends for an after-game snack, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.

Check out hangouts. Do they look safe? Are you comfortable being there? Ask yourself if the people around you seem to share your views on fun activities — if you think they’re being reckless, move on.

Be sure your body language shows a sense of confidence. Look like you know where you’re going and act alert.

When riding on public transportation, sit near the driver and stay awake. Attackers are looking for vulnerable targets.

Carry a cell phone if possible. Make sure it’s programmed with your parents’ phone number.
Be willing to report crimes in your neighborhood and school to the police.

Take a Self-Defense Class

The best way — in fact the only way — to prepare yourself to fight off an attacker is to take a self-defense class. We’d love to give you all the right moves in an article, but some things you just have to learn in person.

A good self-defense class can teach you how to size up a situation and decide what you should do. Self-defense classes can also teach special techniques for breaking an attacker’s grasp and other things you can do to get away. For example, attackers usually anticipate how their victim might react — that kick to the groin or jab to the eyes, for instance. A good self-defense class can teach you ways to surprise your attacker and catch him or her off guard.

One of the best things people take away from self-defense classes is self-confidence. The last thing you want to be thinking about during an attack is, “Can I really pull this self-defense tactic off?” It’s much easier to take action in an emergency if you’ve already had a few dry runs.
A self-defense class should give you a chance to practice your moves. If you take a class with a friend, you can continue practicing on each other to keep the moves fresh in your mind long after the class is over.

Check out your local YMCA, community hospital, or community center for classes. If they don’t have them, they may be able to tell you who does. Your PE teacher or school counselor may also be a great resource.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Texting and Cell Phones with Teens

Love Our Children USA is an organization that educates you on protecting our children. I was privileged to be introduced to their Cyberbullying Spokesperson while on The Rachael Ray Show. This non-profit organization continually helps many families by not only reaching out to them, but keeping parents up to date on how to keep your children safe and keeping you informed of today’s adolescents and these new activities such as texting and sexting. Well, semi-new activities - to many of us, texting is still foreign, however these kids have their fingers going a mile a minute.

THE ISSUE:Every year over 3 million children are victims of violence and almost 1.8million are abducted. Nearly 600,000 children live in foster care. Every day1 out of 7 kids and teens are approached online by predators, 1 out of 4kids are bullied and 42% of kids are cyberbullied.

THE SOLUTION: PREVENTION! Getting to the root of the cause through education and changing behaviorsand attitudes. Loving and nurturing children. Stopping Violence BEFORE itstarts — creating happy and healthy children … Keeping Children Safe


Who is text messaging you? If your friends, family and parents are the only ones sending you text messages — than that’s cool! They should be the only people who are texting you!

To be safe, you should not give anyone but your close friends and family your cell number. Do not give out personal identifiable information, such as real full name, addresses, phone numbers, photos, descriptive information from which this information could easily be found (like a picture of you in front of a recognizable place, or a photo referring to your sports team by name or by wearing something with identifying information in a photo.)

If you text message people other than your family and close friends, you could be texting people who can cause you harm.

And, it’s not uncommon for bullies to use cell phones to harass other kids and, tragically, it’s not unheard of for kids to be contacted on their cell phone by adult predators.
You wouldn’t text a stranger and give them all of your information and let them know what school you go to — would you?

By using common sense and maintaining your privacy when using your cell phone and text messaging you stay safe from online predators and cyber bullies.
What To Do If Strangers Or Bullies Text You?

REPORT IT immediately! To your parents, a trusted teacher and the police!
No one has the right to bully you! And no stranger has the right to text you!

For more information click to read:BullyingBullying At School Bullying …

Through The Eyes Of A Victim Bullying: What Have I Ever Done To You

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens Driving While High

Everyone fears drinking and driving and the danger it can cause, today we need to add driving while high (smoking pot) and how your instincts are diminished to the point that it could cause accidents and worse. Learn more now.

“Pot is the sneakiest of drugs because it takes out your functioning. It decreases reaction time. It messes up judgment. It messes up driving,”
– Steven Jaffe, MD, psychiatrist

For a young driver, there are so many dangers: speed, ego, inexperience and another often ignored danger: drugs.
“I think it’s very irresponsible and it could lead to a lot of dangerous accidents. It’s just as bad as driving drunk – quite possible even worse,” says 17-year-old Allison Meisburg.

Researchers from the University of Montreal studied the habits of 83 male drivers. They found that nearly 20 percent have been high behind the wheel.

“…and I would estimate at least two or three times that number have been in the car in which the driver was stoned,” says Dr. Steven Jaffe, a psychiatrist, who specializes in substance abuse issues.

“[Driving while high] is not as bad as drinking and driving, but it is still bad of course, because you know your reflexes are delayed and all that jazz,” says 16-year old Justin.
Experts say teens simply don’t realize the dangers.

It’s hard to believe, but some kids believe pot helps them driver better.

“They really think they do,” says Dr. Jaffe. “But they don’t. They really don’t. They don’t realize they are impaired. Pot is the sneakiest of drugs because it takes out your functioning. It decreases reaction time. It messes up their judgment. It messes up driving.”
Dr. Jaffe says parents should adopt a zero-tolerance attitude. Remind your kids that pot is a mind-altering drug and not to ride with drivers who are high on any drug. Then, remind them of the consequences.

“The biggest consequence would be you run into another on-coming car during traffic and you kill them and yourself. That’d be the biggest consequence,” says Reggie, 17.
Dr. Jaffe concurs. “It only takes one time to kill yourself and kill somebody else.”

Tips for Parents

According to government studies, nearly 11 million Americans, including one in five 21-year-olds, have driven while under the influence of illegal drugs. Young adults don’t consider driving while high to be as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol, according to John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Therefore, his office is starting a campaign warning teens about driving while smoking marijuana. Concentration, perception, coordination and reaction time can all be affected for up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana, Walters said.

So how can you determine if your teen has been using drugs, namely marijuana? The experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggest looking for these trouble signs in your teen. He/she may:

Seem dizzy and have trouble walking
Seem silly and giggly for no reason
Have very red, bloodshot eyes
Have a hard time remembering things that just happened
Seem very sleepy or groggy (after the early effects fade, sleepiness may occur)
In addition to these signs, parents should also be alert to changes in any of the following:
Behavior, such as withdrawal, depression, fatigue, carelessness with grooming, hostility and deteriorating relationships with friends and family
Academic performance, including absenteeism and truancy
Loss of interest in sports or other favorite hobbies
Eating or sleeping patterns
Also be on the lookout for:
Signs of drugs and drug paraphernalia
Odor on clothes and in bedroom
Use of incense and other deodorizers
Use of eye drops
Clothing, posters, jewelry, etc., promoting drug use

National Institute on Drug Abuse
Parents. The Anti-Drug.
Office of National Drug Control Policy
University of Montreal

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Arguing with Teenagers: Don’t Take the Bait

I absolutely love this website for all parents and guardians raising kids. Not to mention educators that work with kids. This article is particularly interesting since I was a parent that took that bait! Oh, hindsight is great!

Source: PowerMomsUnite

It’s a popular phrase in my house: “Don’t take the bait.” We have variances on it including “don’t be a fish,” “some one is fishing,” and the most popular “looks like you’re going to land a big one.” With 5 kids in the house, several of who are close in age, they joke, tease, and well, see who can get a rise out of whom. A product of an only child family, I was deeply disturbed by this behavior when they were younger. I lecturing about home being a sanctuary and that no one was to be teased ever! I have come to accept that as a family with ADHD, and maybe every family has this to some degree- boredom breeds a little teasing/ poking/ fishing. The nature of the teasing has changed- due to my insistence that relationships be nurtured and that personal attacks are harmful- its rarely name calling or about a person’s attributes or personality- because that gets you in a time out and period of service for the offended- but rather the teasing is simply irksome prankish behavior designed to get your goat- like slowly delivering a fork to a sibling, as they wait at the table staring at a warm brownie covered in melting ice cream or getting in the bathroom before a sibling and then taking their time to brush their teeth as the time to leave for the bus approaches. I think every family with more than 1 child has something going on like this….

What I had not expected is to forget to take my own advice. Yesterday, my 13-year-old landed a big one- his mother. Amid a discussion about how he chose to react to sibling’s behavior, my 13-year-old erupted with the statement, “ Mom you always pick favorites- I know he is your favorite.” Before I knew it, I was defending my response to the sibling; instead of addressing the 13-year-old’s behavior. I became so angry that I walked away before I said something I did not mean. (While that is important to do when you feel out of control- it also ended the engagement.) It was masterful- he had managed to completely derail me, and escape reflection on his own behavior….

I had forgotten my golden rule of managing teenagers, prepare for being baited or having your buttons pushed. Don’t take the bait, always have your unemotional response ready to keep the conversation on track. On one of my better days I would have said, “ I am sorry you see it that way, you need to apologize to your brother for your part of the disagreement.” I would have repeated that statement regardless of what he said in response. Teenagers, and well any child will find your weak spot and exploit it, when they feel pinned into a corner. As parents it is our job to control our responses and be ready, even when we are not at our best.

After I cooled off, I circled back with my cool, “ I love you. You need to apologize to your brother for your part in the disagreement.” He stomped his feet and slammed a door- but he apologized to his brother and even added “what can we do to fix this between us- “ It ended in laughter between both brothers and as the 13 year old and I processed our disagreement later, we laughed at the big one he had landed.

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